Rainbow Body is a Tibetan Buddhist term that refers to a phenomenon wherein the bodies of spiritually perfected people dissolve at death into a stream of rainbow colored light. In most cases the body shrinks to child like size, however it is not uncommon for the body to completely vanish. It is said that over one hundred sixty thousand people have left the world in rainbow body. The book, The Illusion of Death, speaks to eleven of them. It seems that on the average of about every ten years the West learns of another rainbow body incident.

The presence of light in the phenomenon is noteworthy for it indicates that, in the dissolution, something of an atomic nature is taking place. Anytime light is detected by humans it is because photons are present. Photons, the basic units of light, are released whenever atomic objects pass from a high energy to a low energy state.


The Rainbow Body phenomenon is found most commonly in the Nyingma tradition, one of four Tibetan Buddhist sects. Most of the practitioners follow a life long regimented practice known as Dzogchen, which is also unique to the Nyingma tradition. It frequently involves twenty to thirty years periods in hermitic conditions, some in total darkness.

tomdevins_rainbowbodyIn Dzogchen the practitioner adopts the view that all reality is an illusion. It is a blatant denial of one’s biological design. The practitioner reinforces this view with deep meditation, purging the mind of the background noise of the senses which speak contrarily to the solidity, not emptiness, of everything. Action is the most important part of the practice as it involves actually placing emptiness in day-to-day life. Action leads to detachment from illusionary material things. Practitioners are also keen to the effects of karma derived from both this life and past lives. The effects of karma are such to steer, potentially, one’s efforts toward spiritual perfection involuntarily to some lesser objective. To this end the practitioners are devoted to a life of the highest standard of moral and ethical behavior as an offset to the karmic winds which might other wise blow them off course.

In its essence, Dzogchen is a practice to not be a self. It indicates that the human body is but a proxy for the human mind; self organized into form. An empty (of self) mind is an empty body. The practice speaks to the benefits of selflessness, a virtue that is actively promoted in all religious traditions.


The rainbow body passing of the Buddhist monk Khenpo A-Chos in 1998 has received considerable internet attention. On passing, nothing remained of the monk’s body. Father Francis Tiso, a highly respected Catholic priest, visited the site and interviewed eyewitnesses to the event. A-Chos’ accomplishment was reviewed on site by another investigator and also reported in a Chinese newspaper. All substantially validate Father Tiso’s investigation.